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tv   Diane Yentel  CSPAN  July 20, 2021 1:32pm-2:02pm EDT

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>> and to know we've got a crew that is going to space, it just feels different, doesn't it, gary? >> it's totally different. >> all right, you can follow along. of course the speedometer on the bottom left, the altimeter in the middle of the screen there. so far appears to be a nominal flight. all right coming up here on main engine cut off, followed shortly by separation. and at that point after separation we're going to let the astronauts unbuckle and take in the freedoms of zero g. a main engine cut off, a beautiful shot down the new
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shepherd rocket. look at that view. unreal. >> they're moments away from the launch of the new shepherd -- separation of the new shepherd space capsule. you can follow all of that over on our companion network. it's live now over on c-span 2. and next with us to talk about the new report on the high cost of housing is diane. she is the president and ceo of the national low income housing coalition. good morning. welcome to washington journal. >> good morning. thanks for having me. >> tell us what your organization's mission is. >> the national coalition is an organization whose work is all about advancing federal policy solutions to ensure the lowest income people have decent, accessible and affordable homes. >> and we're having you on this morning to talk about your organize's latest report. the name of the report is
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appropriately enough "out of reach 2021" looking at how much it costs across the country to afford living in this country, to afford rent in this country. tell us about the extent of how you put this report together. what do you look at? >> sure, in our report "out of reach" we calculate what we call the housing wage. that's how much a typical person would have to earn each hour just to be able to afford to rent a modest apartment. so nationally in 2020 the housing wage for a one-bedroom apartment is $20.40 an hour. that's how much somebody would have to earn just to rent a modest apartment at one bedroom. and clearly this is almost three times as much as somebody who is earning the federal minimum wage earns. and it's more than 2 an hour more than what the average renter earns. so these rents are out of reach not just for minimum wage
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workers but for average renters. and that $20.40 an hour housing wage for the one bedroom, that really varies widely. it is much higher in many communities across the country. >> you also in your report talk about this term, cost burden households. what is that? >> that's right. most housing experts agree that any of us should not be paying more than 30% of our income towards our rent or our housing costs each month. that's to ensure that we have enough money leftover for all of life's other necessities. so if somebody is paying more than 30% of their income towards rent each month they are considered to be cost burdened. and if they're paying more than 50% of their income toward rent each month they're considered to be severely cost burdened. and pre-pandemic we had about 10 million households who were very low income or extremely low
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income who were severely cost burdened, paying at least half of their income towards rent and many paying much more, 60, 70, 80% of their income just to keep a roof over their heads. >> looking at how that breaks down by race in terms of house burdened household. 25% of white households were cost burdened. 41% of latino, and 43% black. how does that compare with recent, even pre-covid numbers in terms of the burden? >> so there are tremendous racial disparities in our housing and homeless system. and that's due primarily to decades of systemic racism in many systems and certainly our housing system, where for many years the federal government had policies that purposefully put homeownership out of reach for millions of black americans. this created the yawning
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generational wealth gap that exists today where the average white household holds 8 to 12 times as much wealth as the average black household. so these disparities show up in our housing systems. black and latino and native-american people are disproportionately likely to be renters, to be extremely low income, to be severely cost burdened and to be homeless. so, for example, black people make up about 13% of the general population. they are 40% of people experiencing homelessness, and they are 50% of homeless families with children. these kind of racial disparities don't happen by accident. they happen through deliberate public policy choices. >> we'll be covering today a hearing with the housing secretary, martha fudge coming up this morning at 10:00 eastern. we'll air that and stream that on
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diane, what would you like to see from the biden administration in terms of housing affordability and rent relief? >> well, the biden administration has its work cut out for us because we're in such a unique moment right now. we're in a moment where the federal eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire in less than two weeks. while 6 million renter families remain behind on rent, having fallen behind during the pandemic. and while we have throughout the country over $46 billion in emergency rental assistance that is yet to reach the vast majority of those renters who need it. so the biden administration is working appropriately, aggressively to get that money to tenants and landlords who need it to keep people stabeally housed. but even when that money reaches tenants, it won't address the underlying systemic challenges that we face in our housing
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system, this long-standing shortage of homes for the lowest income people. so now is the time to correct and repair these holes in our housing social safety net. and the biden administration is proposing over $300 billion in investments towards long-term solutions to keep the lowest income people stably housed. and we're urging these investments be made soon, they be targeted towards those lowest income people because these kind of investments could be transformational to end homelessness and poverty in our country. >> we're talking with the president and ceo of the national low income housing coalition. we welcome your calls and comments. if you are a renter, you rent your home or apartment, 202-848-8001 is the line to call. if you're looking to buy a home that line a 202-748-8001.
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and for all renters that line is 202-748-8002. how much did the pandemic in the past year help renters in particular? >> i would say the actions the federal government took over the last year kept millions of renters who otherwise would have lost their homes stably housed during the pandemic. and the primary protection that kept people housed was eviction moratoriums, the federal eviction moratorium that was put in place by the cdc and early in the pandemic many states and cities also had their own state or citywide eviction moratorium. those moratoriums generally speaking did what they attempted to do and kept tens of millions of people stably housed. but the moratoriums of course on their own were always a half measure, never the full solution
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because the rent is still due. tenants still need to pay the rent and landlords still need to receive the rent in order to contain and operate their properties. that's why it was so important congress provide -- ultimately they provided a combined $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance to pay the rent and utility arrears that tenants accrued during the pandemic. now the work is about getting that money out to tenants and landlords who need it to keep renters stably housed. >> going back to the $300 billion foig yr you talked about that's been proposed by the biden administration on housing and housing efforts, do you see an ongoing then federal effort in terms of supporting people not just in low income housing but helping people buy affordable single family homes, for example? >> at the national housing coalition we focus on the lowest
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income people, people who are extremely low income who the vast majority of which need to rent apartments that are affordable through them. and the private mashlgt on its own cannot build and maintain and operate properties that are affordable to low income households without their being federal subsidies attached to those properties. so the solutions we push for are solutions like expanding rental assistance to all eligible households who need it. right now we have a system in our country where 1 in every 4 households who needs housing assistance and is eligible receives any. so what we have is essentially a housing lottery system where only the lucky 25% get the help that they need. we need a true housing safety net where 4 out of 4 people who need that housing assistance can receive it. so we are urging the biden administration and congress to
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expand rental assistance. we also need to build more apartments, and we need to ensure they're affordable to the lowest income people. so we do that, again, through federal subsidy, through expanding the national housing trust fund to build and maintain apartments affordable to those lowest income people. and for middle income people some of whom in some communities are struggling also to pay the rent, we need states and cities to do more to remove restrictive zoning that inhibits the construction of any kind of apartments especially affordable apartments and drives up costs for everybody while also maintaining an exacerbating segregation and other inecequity. >> what sort of opportunity do you think this post-pandemic period presents in terms of creating affordable rental housing anyway with some
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uncertainty as to whether people will return to cities, in some places they are. some places where office space may no longer be at a premium, may be vacant. what do you see? >> so i think we've always needed a combination of solutions, and that's certainly true now. there are many cities that simply don't have the supply needed to meet the demand in those communities. and in those communities we need to be building more apartments, and we need to make them affordable to the lowest income people. there are other communities where there's a sufficient supply of apartments but the people living in them can't afford them. so we need solutions to bridge the gap between what people earn and what housing costs, and we do that through rental assistance. in this moment there are also some very unique and important opportunities to use federal resources that were provided through the american rescue plan
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to purchase some of these hotels and motels and other office spaces that may not be occupied that are looking to sell and to convert them into permanent supportive housing. that can be a housing solution for people experiencing homelessness in those communities who may have been put up in hotels or motels during the pandemic to keep them safe. this can be an exit strategy for those fam ez, those individuals. and it also then creates a permanent affordable housing supply in that community for the long-term. so there were resources in the american rescue plan, $5 billion through a program called the home program that communities can and some are using to purchase those hotels and motels, convert them into permanent support housing and start to address homelessness in communities. >> obviously in a number of places and industries wages, et cetera, pay is going up. but the federal minimum wage has not gone up.
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what role does the federal minimum wage play in your analyzing this data on affordability? >> well, clearly the federal minimum wage needs to be increased. it is long overdue for an increase. even if we as a country raise that federal minimum wage to say $15 an hour, which we should and as soon as possible, in most communities housing costs will remain out of reach for those low wage workers. so this is a two-tiered solution. wages need to be increased, and we need more solutions and investments in affordable housing for low wage workers and for other low income people who are seniors or people with disabilities on very limited fixed incomes. for them as well we need to increase affordable housing solutions and investments. >> we've got calls waiting.
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a reminder for those of who who are renters. if you are looking to buy a home that line is 202-748-8001. all others including if you're looking to buy an apartment or looking to rent an apartment 202-748-8002. let's go to jim on our renters line in clarksburg, west virginia. >> caller: good morning. >> morning. >> caller: i'm in section 8 housing and there's no jobs here where i'm at. senator manchin doesn't want to do anything and he's the district republican. that's about all i've got. i'm disgusted. >> just a look there for our
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caller west virginia is 50th, the highest housing wage $14.83 per hour required to afford a two bedroom home. 68 work hours needed at minimum wage to afford a two bedroom home. >> jim is certainly not alone. there are millions of people in america who also are struggling to afford the rent. jim is one who was able to receive federal housing subsidies, and i'm glad that he was, and we are working towards getting more people to be able to access that assistance when they need it. we have a tremendous opportunity to advance some of these solutions right now. it really is a once in a generation -- maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity with congress and the white house negotiating a multi-trillion
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dollar spending package that is about infrastructure, and certainly housing is infrastructure. and it's about expanding opportunities for families and individuals throughout the country. so the president has proposed over $300 billion in investments in affordable housing. and some members of congress like chairwoman maxine waters, chair of the house financial services committee and senator sherrod brown, the chair of the senate banking committee, they're proposing twice as much level of investment, over $600 billion of investments in affordable housing. if we ensure that these investments are targeted towards those with the greatest and the clearest need and use these funds to expand rental assistance, to expand the national housing trust fund, to build more apartments for the lowest income people, to repair the affordable housing that already exists in our country, then it will have a
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transformational effect towards our efforts to end homelessness and housing poverty. so this moment is right now. we have to urge our members of congress to ensure that this major spending bill includes the level of investments in-housing that are needed and the right investments in-housing that are needed. >> next up is patrick who's in louisville, kentucky, looking to buy a home.experience, patrick. patrick, make sure you mute your volume. go ahead with your comment or question for diane. patrick in louisville, kentucky, you are on the air one more time. all right. we're going to go to michael in temucla, california, also looking to buy a home. good morning, michael. >> caller: how are you guys doing? good morning. >> good morning. >> caller: good morning. yeah. i live in temecula, california,
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and the available housing for people looking to purchase here is very, very limited, which also affects the cost of rent from the community which i live. i live in a small one bedroom apartment, and i pay almost $1,500. now, to go out and try to mortgage something in the local economy based on prices, it's cost me about $400,000 for something that's not very different, equivalent-wise. so i guess my question would be is what's being done on a national level or on the level in the states which i live in to ensure there is enough housing being built to keep up and accommodate for those of us that are going from the rental position into the purchasing position? >> sure. thanks for the question. there is question challenges right now for people looking to purchase homes and especially
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for lower-income people looking to purchase a home affordable to them. they're being shut out of the home buying economy. this has been true for some time for people of color for a variety of reasons. some of the challenges that we face right now in the home buying market are simply a lack of supply as the caller says. we are not building enough homes to accommodate the number of people who need them and wish to purchase them. and that is due to a variety of reasons, including really astro no, ma'amically increasing ( costs for lumber and other increasing costs. so the whole process for constructing homes has slowed down, and that has led to these bidding wars that we hear about
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where there is just many more people looking to buy homes than there are homes available for them to purchase. so there is a number of things that need to be done and should be done here. one, looking at the supply, the costs of the supply chain, the costs for construction, finding ways to reduce those costs for lumber and other construction costs. looking for ways that the federal government can gauge and provide resources for more first-time home buyers to be able to have the down payment assistance or the moving assistance that they need. and that is also something that the biden administration and certainly secretary fudge and hudd are prioritizing. so we need to be building more importants and more homes in general. and then for low-income people looking to purchase homes for the first time, we need additional assistance to them. that includes counseling as well and resources to be able to
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purchase that first time. >> on our renter's line is rick in annapolis, maryland. >> caller: good morning. am i on? >> yes, sir. go ahead. >> caller: thank you very much. really appreciate you representing the section 8 landlords and owners across the country because we need more section 8 housing nationwide. as you know, in 1965 when they set up hudd, a small group went to all of our cities, chicago, detroit, baltimore, d.c., they bought the worst section of the land and they financed, developed and to this day own and manage those section 8 projects. there is now 42 million blacks in the country today. about 30% are doing fabulous. barack obama, the ballplayers, et cetera.
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70% are being housed in those projects throughout our cities. the worst school systems, no chance to get out. and when they die, do you know what they pass on? an empty apartment. so here you are trying to promote for the administration. they set aside billions for more low-income section 8 housing to house our people to make the jared kushners of the world -- here's one name i would like you to write down, phil winn. that's winn, not steve wynn. he owned over 500,000 section 8 units. you want right now, oh, we have to provide homeless people now, for all these migrants. so you're there helping out the jared kushners of the world to make them richer. >> diane? >> so there are multiple types of federally funded affordable housing. when it comes to section 8,
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there are two kinds. there is section 8 project-based housing where the developer and the owner, the operator receives a subsidy to maintain those properties and keep them affordable to the lowest income people. and then there is what's called housing choice vouchers. those are mobile section 8 vouchers where tenants receive assistance to rent apartments on the private market and have those be affordable to them. in most cases, whether they're project based or mobile vouchers, people pay 30% of their income towards rent and the federal government pays the rest up to a fair market rent, up to a reasonable amount. these kind of housing subsidies are essential to ensuring that the lowest income people, low wage workers, seniors, people with disabilities on fixed incomes can afford to have a stable, decent, affordable home.
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these kind of federal subsidies are what make it possible for the lowest income people to have decent homes. but we underfund these programs and have for decades. so we have a system in our country where 75% of the people who need housing assistance and are eligible for it don't receive any. they add their names to years or sometimes decades long waiting lists hoping to win what is essentially a housing lottery system in our country. and in the meantime, they pay exorbitant percentages of their income towards rent, which leads them to make all kinds of toxic trade-offs about whether they should buy that expensive medicine or pay the rent or whether they should pay the internet for their children's virtual school or whether they should pay the rent or they have to double or triple up with other families. they may live in homes that are not safe or they become homeless
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and they sleep in their cars. they sleep in rvs, they sleep in encampments and government centers. so the federal government has to do more to ensure this basic human need of a home. >> what first got you interested in this issue of affordable housing, and how long have you been with the low-income housing coalition? >> i have been working on affordable housing issues for probably close to 25 years. i started doing this work in massachusetts at the massachusetts coalition for the homeless, and i came to washington, d.c. a few years after that to work at the national housing coalition the first time as a policy analyst. i worked on and worked at hudd. i worked at enterprise community partners. but i came back to the national income housing coalition as its ceo about five years ago and
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have been doing this work since. >> i have a comment on twitter that says there is a two-year minimum wait for low-income housing apartments in georgia south of atlanta. these parents are in poor condition and in our higher crime areas. is that wait in particular popular across the country now? >> yeah. the wait is not unusual. there are waiting lists for subsidized affordable housing everywhere you go. and those wait lists can vary from several months to several years. in some cases they go beyond a decade. so we absolutely need to expand these programs to meet the need. it is also essential that we ensure that these properties are kept up and that they are safe and decent, not only affordable for the people who live within them. and a couple of the callers and commenters are right, that much of our affordable housing stock in our country is in poor condition.
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that is due to decades of declining resources to repair these units and keep them in these sanitary conditions. so public housing, for example, has been underfunded for decades and now has a $70 billion capitol needs backlog. in other words, it would cost $70 billion to repair our country's public housing infrastructure and maintain those properties in sanitary condition for the people who live there today and to keep it for the generations who will need it in the future. so that's an additional investment that we are urging and that president biden has proposed to invest in the public housing, the affordable housing that exists today to repair it so that it's safe and sanitary for the people that live there today and for the generations of people that need it. >> let's hear from richard in
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minneapolis, minnesota. good morning. >> caller: good morning. you know, if you want to have apartments in poor condition, just advocate rent control. they're advocating it here in minneapolis, and you take a look around the town and the construction permits just froze. they just stopped. there is no new building going on since they proposed this rent control. now, my proposal is if you want to have more housing and cheaper housing, just build more apartments and the competition will drive down the price. now, you go to build a place and the property tax is out of this world. they got to lower the property tax. they got to lower the price of the land to build it. they got to lower the price of the labor and they got to lower the price of the materials. it's just outrageous. they got to build more, and the price will go down. >>


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